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Phobia

(the stage is set like a psychiatrist’s lounge – couch, chair, etc. etc. The PSYCHIATRIST is sitting in a chair by the couch with a notepad, a little bell and a tape recorder. The couch is occupied by a man, let’s call him BOB.)


PSYCHIATRIST: So what you’re saying is you have... (looks at a notepad) ‘judeoithyphallophobia’.

BOB: (uncomfortably) Yes.

PSYCHIATRIST: (giving him a weird look) And how did you acquire a fear of seeing or thinking about a Jewish man’s erect penis?

BOB: (reluctantly) Well, it’s a long story that started when I watched Toy Story as a kid, and — boy, this is awkward to explain...

PSYCHIATRIST: (suddenly) Would you like to trade it in?

BOB: What?

PSYCHIATRIST: Trade in your phobia. (flips through notepad pages) How about homophobia? Not the fear of gay people, the fear of sameness, as in homotype. It's a great conversation starter at parties.

BOB: You can do that?

PSYCHIATRIST: (cheerfully) No.

(there’s an awkward pause.)

BOB: (confused) What did that have to do with my problem, then?

PSYCHIATRIST: (waving it aside) All right. Let’s think of a name for your problem, like.. purple. (leans in) Tell me, what’s it like when you are purpling?

BOB: ...What the hell?

PSYCHIATRIST: Are you having a purple moment right now?

BOB: I... you... no, I’m not having a purple moment!

PSYCHIATRIST: Are you afraid of anything else?

BOB: Like what?

PSYCHIATRIST: Traffic lights.

BOB: Why would I be afraid of traffic lights?

PSYCHIATRIST: (nonchalantly, writing in notepad) They’re alive, of course.

BOB: ... Excuse me?

PSYCHIATRIST: Traffic lights. They’re self-aware. That’s why you never actually see their supposed control boxes. Didn’t you know?

BOB: Is this a joke?

PSYCHIATRIST: Do you see me laughing? (gets into it) The other day I was driving, right, and this guy overtakes and nearly hits me. He leans out of the window on the way past to give me the finger, and the next light goes green. He drives through this intersection... truck comes along the other way and slams into him. (punches his hand for emphasis)

BOB: ...So?

PSYCHIATRIST: (darkly) But the other set of lights was still green.

(creepy music plays.)

BOB: .. Bullshit!

PSYCHIATRIST: So you believe traffic lights aren't alive? (writes in notepad, shaking their head sadly)

BOB: (pointing) You’re loopy.

PSYCHIATRIST: You seem angry. Are you in denial about something? Do traffic lights remind you of your father's penis? Let’s think of a name for this problem, like... (thinks) electric blue.

BOB: (getting up) This is stupid. I’m leaving.

PSYCHIATRIST: (as he storms out) Be careful at the intersection!

BOB: Whatever! (leaves)

PSYCHIATRIST: (writing in his notepad) Next!

(a man in a traffic light costume enters and lies down on the couch.)

TRAFFIC LIGHT: I keep getting this feeling like I’m being watched.

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